Going Raw: Raw-Vitalize + Two Bonus Recipes!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I went raw. I was inspired by Raw-Vitalize, by Mimi Kirk and Mia Kirk White.

This book is designed to introduce you to the raw lifestyle and raw cuisine with 21 days of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners – from spiralized vegetables and smoothies, to super creative ideas like raw stuffed peppers and nutty pâté. I have never purposefully prepared “raw” food – I have never spent any time thinking about it – although I have made tons of salads in my day. I have also been known to make raw walnut taco meat (served on cooked tortillas) and almond “tuno” salad (served on toast.) I also have made raw treats without thinking about them in the context of raw.

So, I really had no idea what eating raw all day, every day, 6 times a day, would entail. That’s why this book is a great idea for anyone who is interested. It is literally laid out for you with 21 breakfasts like chia pudding, raw granola, and my favorite, which has become my go to snack, banana pudding (a perfect mash up of a banana and almond butter.) Then there are lunches like pad thai and nori rolls and dinner like kale salads and much, much more. Not to mention the most decadent dessert I have ever made, cacao caramel cups.

I was planning to go for the whole 21 days but I only lasted 8. I was hungry, had a headache, was craving potatoes and rice, and dreamt of cooking which is really my creative outlet. Plus, I was kind of ignoring the food needs of my husband and son. So, I decided to end my quest for 100% rawness but did pledge to add more raw meals into my rotation. For example, I will have raw taco meat on lettuce wraps next Taco Tuesday! And I will try to eat more raw lunches.

But, I have made tons of the recipes from this book and if you are looking for uncomplicated, not fancy raw recipes that are really easy to make, this is the book for you. I also got permission to reprint two recipes, the nori rolls from which I made just the pâté and the caramel cacao cupcakes. Try them, then buy the book and get raw cooking!

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Spiralized zucchini with basil pesto

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Romaine with raw cashew parm and lemon and olive oil dressing

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Cacao caramel cupcakes (recipe below!)

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Raw stuffed pepper with cashew dressing and lots of dill

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Beets, red cabbage and apple salad with scallions and walnuts in an apple cider vinaigrette

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Raw stuffed marinated mushrooms stuffed with arugula pesto (my recipe, coming soon!)

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Zucchini hummus (brilliant, it’s zucchini in place of chickpeas, a winner!)

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Straight up avocado, also know as the avocado vessel!

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Chia pudding with homemade almond milk and fruit

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The pâté from the nori roll (recipe below!)

Friends of the Nori Roll
MAKES 2 NORI ROLLS
SERVES 1

Making a pâté for a Nori roll is quite easy. It’s a good place to let your imaginary creative friend loose in the kitchen to help you. Once you learn the basics, you can set yourself free with different spices and herbs. Taste is important, as is texture, and Nori rolls have it all—crunchy, creamy, and juicy all in one bite. You might want to have some fresh pâté around at all times for a quick roll up or to use in a salad or Buddha bowl.

FOR THE PÂTÉ
1/2 cup peeled and roughly chopped carrots
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup pumpkins seeds
1 tablespoon roughly chopped shallot or sweet onion
1/2 cup roughly chopped red sweet bell pepper
1/4 cup dulse (I left this out!)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon tamari
1 pinch sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried

METHOD
Pulse-chop all pâté ingredients in a food processor until well incorporated into a smooth paste, scraping down sides of the food processor when needed. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

FOR THE DIP
1/8 teaspoon wasabi, or more if you like it spicy
1 tablespoon tamari

METHOD
Mix together wasabi and tamari for the dipping sauce. Set aside.

FOR THE ROLL UP
2 raw nori sheets
1/4 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into thin matchsticks
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, cut into thinly sliced matchsticks

TO ASSEMBLE
If you have a sushi bamboo mat use it. Alternatively, spread a sheet of plastic wrap on your chopping board vertically. Lay the nori sheet on the prepared surface with the shiny side down and the lines on the nori running horizontal. Spread half the pâté evenly over 2/3 of a nori sheet, leaving an inch on the end closest to you. Spread the pâté all the way out to the side edges. Arrange cucumber, avocado, and red bell pepper on top of the pâté at the end closest to you, bringing the vegetables all the way to the side edges. Take a hold of the plastic wrap and bring up the edge of the nori to start rolling. When you have completed the first roll and covered the veggies, give a light squeeze on the wrap to secure the roll. Lift the edge of the plastic wrap and continue to use the plastic wrap to finish rolling, applying a little pressure for a tight roll. Roll until ½-inch of nori is left exposed, then lightly wet your finger and run it across the exposed nori. Continue rolling and lightly squeeze to seal and shape roll using the plastic wrap. Remove the plastic wrap and place the roll on the chopping board seam side down. Cut in half with a sharp or serrated knife. Repeat directions to make a second. Roll. Serve with the dip.

Cacao Caramel Cupcakes
MAKES 12 CUPCAKES

NOTE: Cashew pieces and Medjool dates need to be soaked. See the directions in the For the Caramel Layer section that follows.

One bite of this dessert and it feels like you are eating chocolate candy. But in fact, these cupcakes are like mini tarts with a thin crust on the bottom. If you are a fan of salted caramel, feel free to put a pinch of sea salt in with the caramel layer or on top of the finished cacao layer. The first bite of this creamy dessert will make all things right again.

FOR THE BOTTOM CRUST
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup Medjool dates

METHOD
Place nuts in food processor and pulse into smallish pieces. Add the dates and pulse to incorporate dates. Pinch the mixture in your fingers to see if it sticks together. Put cupcake papers into baking cupcake tins. Press 1 tablespoon of crust into bottom of each cupcake paper. Refrigerate until caramel layer is ready to spread.

FOR THE CARAMEL LAYER
1 cup cashew pieces, soaked for 3–4 hours
1/2 cup Medjool dates, soaked for 20 minutes, or 1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao powder
3 tablespoons filtered water

METHOD
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth, adding water a tablespoon at a time. Use as little water as possible. Remove tin from refrigerator and spread 1 tablespoon caramel layer over each nut crust and place tin back in refrigerator.

FOR THE CACAO LAYER
9 tablespoons solid coconut oil, melted
9 level tablespoons cacao powder (or less if you’re not a chocoholic)
5 tablespoons maple syrup

METHOD
Place solid coconut oil in a bowl and place over a pan of hot water to melt. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.

TO ASSEMBLE
Remove cupcake tin from refrigerator and place 1 tablespoon of cacao mixture on top of caramel layer. Divide any leftover cacao between the cupcakes. Place back into refrigerator and leave overnight. Wrap in individual plastic wrap and freeze.

Try this Tip
Add a splash of orange juice and zest to the caramel layer.

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